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South America Established as New US Cheese Buyer

06 November 2013

SOUTH AMERICA – US cheese exports to South America have been on the rise for ten years, bringing the region into line with the Middle East and South East Asia in terms of importance.

The growth, according to US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) President, Angelique Hollister, has been under the radar, but is close to breaking the 10,000 metric ton mark in 2013.

Expanding economies are bringing better incomes and a larger middle class, explains Mrs Hollister. This is pushing people to more protein in the diet.

After steady growth, volume shipments gapped 27 per cent for the first seven months, up 6,503 metric tons.

USDEC analysts attribute more trade down to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Chile, Peru and Columbia, describing them as a text book example of how to propel the industry.

“South American markets are very price sensitive,” said Mrs Hollister. “The FTAs gave the United States a pricing advantage over competitive suppliers.”

“That advantage resulted in increased interest in U.S. products and greater exposure to the United States as a supply source, even for varieties traditionally controlled by Europe, like gouda.”

Increases in cheese consumption have been forecast for the future as more women get jobs in the region and rely more on cheese as a snack food to feed children.

Logistical and infrastructural expansion also promise to boost demands alongside retail and food service industry expansion as economic catalysts, added Mrs Hollister.

She concluded: "In general, South American buyers have been much more satisfied by U.S. suppliers’ demonstration of commitment. Should it persist, South America is likely to continue to grow as a U.S. cheese export destination."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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